Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Notes on Presidio County Commissoners Court Regular Meeting, Wednesday, May 9th, 2018, 9:30 AM, Marfa

Here are my notes for today’s meeting. Sorry I am currently unable to load up the agendas. My scanner is not working. Agendas are available at the County website,

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Regular Meeting, Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 9:30 AM, Main Courtroom, Presidio County Courthouse

Present: Judge Cinderela Guevara, Loretto Vasquez, Eloy Aranda.

Meeting convened at 9:39 AM

Citizen Comments:
Patty Roach: says that next payroll will have a comp time payout, 9,900 dollars plus. Persons who are exceeding the cap, still work for County.

County Judge announcements:
Saturday Judge went to airport to see how emergency area at airport operates. Pretty amazing. Gary Mitschke is asked to give a short update on fires.
Gary leaves some maps and incident action plans with Commissioners. 19,000 acres, mostly contained. He thinks the6 will demobilize and leave out this weekend. Approx four million dollars spent, four hundred personnel.
Helibase out there is impressive. Gary advocates to provide this on a long term basis.
TXDOT has been assisting, doing an excellent job to control the dust around the copters.
Airport staff worked overtime to accommodate the relocation of the helibase from Alpine Thursday night and Friday morning.
Aranda would like to see the base after the meeting.
Four type 1 tankers here. Can carry up to 1000 gallons of water.
Gary would like to have an area prepared for them to be able to show up on short notice, including electrical power at the zone of the airport where they are based.
Aranda thanks Gary and the County employees for helping and doing a good job for everything in this fire.
Sam Cobos thanks Gary for the training on cost tracking; he knew exactly how to track County costs for reimbursements. Training was key.
Gary says that there will be reimbursements for some of the costs of the fire to the County.

Judge says that Appraisal District hacking incident is being addressed. Board will pay more money to software company to get records back instead of paying ransom. Going to be a long road to rebuild data system.
Judge says we will need some type of assurance that our server is being regularly backed up.
Anti-virus software is needed in each office. We need to be sure we are using it.
Perhaps training on security and emails for county employees.
Other counties and districts have been hacked, Aranda says. Judge says PCAD purchased disaster recovery insurance. She remembers earthquake tremors in Marfa back in 1998. You can never know what can happen.

Judge thanks OMB and county clerk for assisting with meeting copies since her clerk is out of the office sick. Her last day in the office otherwise is Friday.

Aranda asks if there is an update on the bridge construction on the International Bridge. Staging down there but no actual construction. People arrested asking when it will start.
Judge says that she will have Jake give an update at the meeting next Presidio.
PIPA did receive funds from County. Confirmation from Jim White, treasurer of PIPA.

Item 6- minutes approval
Vasquez motions to approve. Second by Aranda. Unanimous.

Item 7- US 67 corridor master plan presentation by Ramon Carrasco.
Kleinmann Consultants.
PowerPoint presentation.
Project started fall of 2017.primary project manager is Rebecca Reyes.
Public meetings next week in fort Stockton, alpine, Marfa and Presidio.
Comprehensive plan for corridor from TXDOT.
Rare opportunity for our communities to get together and voice preference for how this highway will look in the future.
Seven firms involved. Main firm has 5000 engineers employed.
This is the time to ask for something we need within or near the corridor.
Main purpose of the study is to create a corridor master plan.
Been collecting data on current conditions during the holidays.
TXDOT began collecting data in this area in 2006.
Public meetings are for input from citizens. Want as much data as possible.
Solitaire mobile homes will be expanding their production. Pedestrian issues. Bicycle traffic.
Project has not been funded, only study has been funded. Will function as a guide for the entities can go for funding.
Ponton says that TXDOT usually does not pay for right of way purchases. Cities and counties can ask for TxDOT help on this. Cities and county need to be on the same page on this, very important.
Ramon says it’s the county’s responsibility to get the right of way but feds or state may assist if there is a real need and unity.
Corridor master plan will identify short, medium and long term issues for corridor. Thirty year window.
Anything that does not make it into this plan will be much more difficult to be funded down the line.
Judge asks audience about a potential bypass for Marfa. Room agrees. Ramon says this is why this meeting is so important, to get sentiments like this from the general public.
Short term window projects would be optimally addressed within two years.
Improving traffic flow, quality of life and safety issues are front and center. Additional economic benefits as well.
Another bus tour for officials will happen this summer.
Study will be completed next fall. Two year window. Fall of 2019.
Website: takes public comments.
GIS map at where accident sites data has been posted and can be viewed. Comments can be received there as well.
TxDOT website also has a link to this study, has links to other sites related to this project.
Meetings are the chance to voice opinion. Ponton says that some people are in fear about this turning into a giant freeway through the Big Bend. Going to the meetings can get their viewpoint heard and find solutions, such as bypasses around Marfa and Alpine.
Aranda says that the steep hills and curves on the Presidio highway make for challenges in the trucking business. All three cities should have bypasses.
Talk of a Rest Stop, where would be best on the Presidio highway?
Ramon says nobody wants a four lane highway inside their city, but people want the roads to be safe. This is the way to show TxDOT how the community feels about this.
Meetings will have an Open House format.
Aranda asks if there has already been a lot of input. Carrasco says yes, but not everyone who signed up to attend did.
End of presentation.

Item 8- Sam Cobos asks to hire Justin Steffy as part time hire for Facilities Management Dept position.
Sam says he was been working for two weeks as a contract employee. Doing a good job.
Aranda motions to approve. Second by Vasquez. Unanimous

Item 9- Courthouse alarm system contract. Requiring has been completed. Active. Final inspection not possible because the regulations have changed and now must have a remote monitoring system. Now this firm has quoted $480 per year for off site monitoring. Going rate, dedicated phone included. State inspection sticker will follow.
Vasquez motions to accept. Aranda seconds. Unanimous.

Item 10- county credit card for use with businesses that do not accept purchase orders. Requesting to use. Brought up in last weeks meeting that some vendors do not accept POs . Equipment for baseball field, Sears lawn mower parts. Currently using his own credit card. Ruben Carrasco from road and bridge sometimes has the same problem.
Aranda thinks it’s a good idea, but asks Patty Roach about her opinion. Says he is interested in transparency.
Patty says there is no process in place. We will need to develop processes for this system. Tracking, purchasing policy rules must be followed. This is different from a travel card.
Concept could be approved today, but Court will need to decide on a multitude of issues regarding the use of this card.
Judge says airports manager has same issue as well.
Judge says many years ago Mario Rivera had a card and inspected items when they arrived after being charged but before paying the bill.
Judge motions to accept and have Treasurer and auditor obtain a card for purchases and to return to commissioners court with a process for future approval .

Item 11- support for City of Presidio to build a micro-hospital in Presidio. Rod Ponton presents. Jose Rodriguez rote a letter to
Richard Lange of Texas Tech medical school in El Paso and mr Patel, affiliated with Tenet health care.
This morning he got an email from Patel from Tenet health care expressing support.
Asking commissioners to provide a resolution of support.
Vasquez and Aranda say it’s a no brainer
Vasquez says this is big for Candelaria, Redford and even Lajitas areas.
Aranda says the new hospital can displace much of the EMS transport money spent. City of Presidio spends a million dollars per year on EMS services. Ca support the hospital without raising taxes from these same revenues savings, save lives. Housing would also be built for employees. Financing is in place, says Ponton.
Current Presidio clinic sees 500 patients per week.
Aranda remembers setting that up. Over the years there have been good doctors but often have trouble keeping them. Right now good doctors and nurses, good service.
Ponton says it’s very hard to figure out how many people live in Presidio. Approx 2600 water taps, and based on stats, likely 3.6 people per tap.
Vasquez makes motion to approve. Unanimous.

Item 12- waive golf course fees for girls softball league on June 9, 2018.
Judge says committee for golf course met last week and at some point there will be an announcement that we will no longer waive those fees. Aranda and Vasquez support waiving the fees.
Beebe speaks about how giving the golf course fees away hurts the golf course.

Judge says that there are good points on both sides but the regulations we were unaware of prohibit us from giving it away. We have been doing it, unknown. We gave it away for the band, which has both the Judges and commissioner Bentley’s daughters in it. Not giving it away to other groups makes it look like we’re playing favorites. We need to get the golf course board together and make some solid decisions.
More discussion. Aranda agrees with both sides.
He says that people in Presidio want the county out of the golf business, we really need to lease it out.
Judge says that once the committee takes off that she thinks they will find a good answer to this.
Still trying to get credit card terminal at the golf course.
Vasquez agrees that the court needs to take committees advice.
In the meantime were caught between a rock and a hard place. Judge makes motion to waive the fee .
Second by Vasquez.

Item 13- TAP grant engineering projects. Katie Sanchez says we do not yet have state approved rating sheet. Judge motions to postpone item. Unanimous.

Item 14- budget amendments- Auditor
Proceeds from sale of stray animals. Cattle. Stray expenses can be covered. $3400 in proceeds. Auditor wants to transfer then to to Estray budget.
Water District funding budget amendment.
District court funds to pay for indigent defense training.
Funds for fire alarm work.
Tax office education and travel.
JP 1 - installation of computers from education.
Jail for fuel into office supplies
JP 2 from fuel to education.
Several other small ones (missed them)
Aranda motions to approve

Item 16- Treasurers Report and Bills
Frances Garcia
Reports for previous month for departments will be next meeting.
Meeting in Presidio courtroom at 9 AM next Wednesday the 16th.
Aranda motions to approve

Item 17- update on projects. Waiting on TAP grant forms.
Property transfers- one chair trashed from courthouse.
Cheap rolling chair.
Aranda motions to accept OMB report and transfers.

Item 18
Adjourn at 12:02 PM

Notes on Marfa City Council Meeting, Tuesday May 8th, 2018, 6 PM, City Hall

Here are my notes on the City Council Meeting, the last for Genevieve Bassham and Mark Scott, two council members who did great jobs for the City of Marfa.

I also want to thank my Houston buddy Chuck Ward for gifting me a better IPad that does not randomly erase portions of my notes while I am taking them. Thank you, Chuck!

Notes on Marfa City Council Regular Meeting Tuesday, May 8th, 2018, 6 PM, Marfa City Hall

Council members present: Mark Scott, Genevieve Bassham, Brit Webb, Manny Baeza, Irma Salgado, Mayor Ann Marie Nafziger

Meeting convened at 6:00 pm.

Item 3:
Citizen comments- Saarin Keck- sewer and water issues based on last meeting report. Wants more info on potential fines, etc
Who is responsible for increase, fines?

Daniel a Hernandez introduces himself as new RGCOG local rep, based in Casper Room at City Hall.
Invites visits, questions.

Gretel Enck- letter of thanks to City for Blackwell school block party and mural. Hoping for continued partnerships with City.
Honoring history of Marfa is the focus.
Also says that council member Webb’s old dealership Webb Bros is represented on their website.

Saarin- thanks the RGCOG and City of Marfa for opening office here.

Teresa Todd congratulates council election winners.
Thanks outgoing councilors Scott and Bassham. Bassham thanks everyone.

Minutes approval. Item 4- unanimous

Item 5- Mayors report- attended criminal justice advisory committee meeting in El Paso on May 1.
Reminds everyone about the TXDOT public forum on HWY 67 next Wed the 16th. Public needs to attend and give input.
Tuesday May 22 is swearing in day for new councilors.
Gives Gary Mitschke a chance to give fire update.
Gary says that basic stats are 19,043 acres. Approx 70% contained. Cost approx four million dollars. Type 1 incident management team is there.
Lightning ignited the fire last Monday.
Helicopter base was relocated to the Marfa airport. Six copters at airport currently.
Country very rough, nearly impassable. Helicopter tankers are key. Probably one more week to go.
Personnel levels will be maintained based on continued risk of sparks spreading fire.

Ann Marie invited people to stay after meeting for refreshments for outgoing council members.

Admin report: Ann Marie presents for city admin:
City received a grant for tire disposal for $5000. Will be part of a clean up Marfa initiative.

City will do an inventory of all dumpsters and locations.
Most people in favor of recycling but most don’t want to pay for it.
Centrally located recycling drop off presents staffing, cleanliness issues.
Looking at getting more cardboard recycling dumpsters.
Over 100 people offered to volunteer.
First order of business is tire recycling effort.
Opportunity to recycle tires.

Illegal dumping areas around town. Clean up Marfa initiative.
June 16 and 30 proposed dates for volunteer cleanup for these two issues.
Should there be a fee for commercial tire recycling during this event?council can decide. Next agenda. Dates instead will be June 23rd and July 7th.

Item 7: council members comments: none

Canvassing city elections results: item 8
Mayor reads election results.
Including sales tax reauthorization for road repairs.

Item 9: redesignate city administrator position as City Manager.
Title change lines up title with proper name except for that City Manager would be authorized to supervise purchases up to $50,000 instead of $3,000 in current ordinance.

Item 10: action to approve ordinance restricting child sex offenders from child safety zones, as equipped by state law.
Up to 1000 feet of child safety zones. Teresa Todd tried to make this ordinance up as close to statute as possible, since this could be subject to litigation. Child safety zones are premises where children regularly gather including schools, day cares, library, parks, etc.
Statute allows up to 1000 feet.
Will require a map of areas and also she would like to see signage. There also must be an exemption procedure. Police chief and atty got together and came up with this:
Current occupants are grandfathered without an exemption. Exemptions only apply to certain situations.
Two types:
Unrestricted. All access type. Will be reviewed by the chief of police and city atty and only granted if it is shown that the subject is no longer a threat to children.
Limited exemption could allow an offset for work only specified hours and days from one child safety zone.
Certain situations would be controlled by other statutes and Regis, like parent who is registered bringing child to school. School has processes and rags that would be followed.
Manny moves to approve. Unanimous.

Item 11: repaint or refurbish Casper motors sign on side of City Hall. Irma Salgado would like a touch up, since it’s next to the new nice mural.
Manny would like to blend in the background with the blue from the base of the mural.
Mayor says that within the budget she would like to know where it could come from. Manny recommends HOT fund historic preservation funds since that was the reason they kept the sign in the first place.
Mayor would like to verify that HOT funds can be used and the go from there.
Saarin says that she agrees with a touch up to match new mural.
Mayor asks if there is any opposition from audience. None.
Gretel Enck says she thinks if it’s considered historic we may need to consult County historic commission to see if there needs to be certain materials used.
Irma make motion to approve, Brit Webb seconds,unanimous.

Item 12- announcements- none except party coming up after meeting.

Item 13- adjourn at 6:45 PM

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting, Thursday May 3rd, 2018, 8:30 AM, Marfa

I knew I was going to make some comments regarding the moving of County Attorney Rod Ponton’s Presidio Annex office into a building that was to also house his private practice since Rod and I had a heated disagreement the weekend before in a public place about the ethics of it, and since I can’t talk and write at the same time, I recorded that part of the meeting and transcribed approximately ten minutes from voice recorder, hence the actual verbatim quotes in that part of the notes. Thanks for reading. -DB

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Special Meeting Thursday May 3rd 2018, 8:30 AM

Commissioners Present: Brenda Bentley, Loretto Vasquez, Eloy Aranda, County Judge Cinderela Guevara

Also present at table: County Atty Rod Ponton.

Meeting convened at 8:37 AM.
Skip to payroll item 16.
Payroll- approving two payrolls, last one did not come before commissioners court, no quorum for meeting.
Treasurer Garcia says the current payroll is not exceptional except for comp tie payouts for two dispatch employees who have quit.
Aranda moves to approve current period. Unanimous.

Judge asks Sheriff how he fills in for dispatchers when people quit. Start at $13.50/hr. Sheriff says that dispatchers have to be certified as dispatchers and also jailers. They make it work by having people rotate shifts. New one is starting this week. There will be four, still short one position.
Judge talks about Sandra Bland act required mental heath training for dispatchers and jailers. RGCOG has sought a grant for unfunded mandate from State.

Bills and expenses: commissioners review bills.
Judge says that sometimes bills don’t get paid because auditor removes them. Commissioners are not made aware of this every time. Judge would like to have commissioners be aware and given a list of rejected bills from auditor.
Conversation begins to skip to item 7 about credit card for Sheriffs Office. Commissioners show support.
Judge says she still would like to see a list of submitted and pulled bills. Marsha from auditors office says that is possible.
Jail fund expenditures: Bentley asks about Marco Baeza, he quit, is he working on contract sometimes? Sheriff says yes.
Big Bend Telephone build out will be completed by June.
Bentley motions to approve. Unanimous.
Frances Garcia returns to the room with last payroll period numbers.
99,495.53. $70,663.25 in other bills paid.
Judge motions to approve payroll from April 2-15.

Item 4: Citizen Comments- none

Item 5: announcements to commissioners court from Judge
Talks about fire in Jeff Davis County. Some livestock is being held at the Roping Arena. Jessie typed up a release of liability form for County. Reba Griggs is back to assist. Firefighters are also assisting.
Aranda says it doesn’t look too good.
State and national forest services have arrived.
Judge has been in El Paso the last two days for the RGCOG criminal justice advisory meetings. Increase in human trafficking, more mental illness issues for detained. City of Marfa may be attempting to get their own dispatch system.
Alpine has been working to get their own school security officer.
Brewster County requested a grant for a crime victim coordinator. Rod Ponton asked for one as well. Judge had to excuse herself from that vote and presentation. Rod presented. He says they were attentive and recognized the need for that here in Presidio County.
535 persons from Presidio County were seen by the Family Crisis Center last year. CVC would help see and assist these victims and others including non family violence victims. Judge agrees that this would be a great help for local victims.
PCAD software hacked. Rod and Judge called FBI and they are now involved.

Commissioners announcements:

Bentley says that she and Aranda attended the commissioners conference.
Learned a lot. Also visited the KoFile offices and saw the county restoration and digitization process of county records. Very impressed. Amazingly painstaking process. Very pleased.
Vasquez has questions and comments about the sick leave pool in the County.
Will put it on next agenda. Maximum donation per employee of ten days per year sick leave. Vasquez says he finds that to be backwards. Talks about when people run out of sick leave in the program. Wants to be more like federal leave program. Make it easier for anyone to donate sick leave time, even when people are not participants in the program.
Bentley says she thinks that part of the reason that people need to be in the pool to participate is to increase pool hours donations in general, by encouraging participation. Judge would like to look at how other Counties deal with this.

Approval of minutes. None

Item 7: County credit card requested by Sheriff for employees.
Sheriff Dominguez presents:
Says that they have had problems in the past with trips for training, using their own credit card and having trouble getting timely reimbursements.
Says he is not here to throw anyone under the bus, just looking to make things easier for his employees.
Says that auditor has not been approving things prior to needing funds. Many of his employees live check to check. Hotels only accept cards these days.
He is trying to get the County to move to a system where there is a card and then the county department is responsible. Judge talks about how the RGCOG does it. Says that County could do something similar.
Sheriff reiterates that he really wants to take the burden off the employee. That’s the main issue.
Judge agrees. When she goes to COG functions room is booked, on file, and she just has to leave her own card in case of incidentals.
Bentley says that she spoke with auditor and she would like to be the one who administers the reservations, etc.
Judge does not agree, says that Treasurer should be the one, especially since Patty is only here three days per week.
Virgie says that often the host hotels for conferences run out of rooms fast and she has to book very quickly to get a room there. Sheriff agrees.
Vasquez is concerned about the work load at the Treasurers office during payroll periods, etc. Frances says that it should not be a problem, it does not take a long time. Vasquez says he sees the importance of this issue.
 Bentley says that if there is a card that it should not be shared, too risky.
At one time the County had a credit card. Sheriff says he once had one for his department, an American Express.
Judge makes a motion to approve that Treasurer seek and obtain a county credit card for the purpose of business trips for employees.
Sam Cobos says that he would like commissioners to consider using this for purchases from companies that don’t accept PO’s. Can this card also be used to make pre-approved purchases with POs from companies that don’t accept POs. Next agenda, Judge says.
Motion passes unanimously.

Item 9: Water District Board chair Trey Gerfers update on activities.
Trey says 5hat new board met April 6.all directors were there other than J.P. Baeza. Trey voted as chairman. Vicky Carrasco new Secretary/Treasurer.
Next steps for board: need for more solid data. Also need for a general manager.
Rudy Garcia and James R Mustard had been the previous volunteer managers. Trey and board believe that hiring a full time general manager is necessary and a phone. $1000/month for salary plus phone costs.
General manager would work directly with the board and would receive drilling applications and process them quickly .
Right now processes are very slow.
Manager would work on getting grants through local and state agencies.
Well monitoring essential, manager would manage getting monitoring wells up and managing data.
Proactive approach instead of reactive.
District is currently not prepared for challenges ahead.
Judge commends Trey for breathing new life into the board. Pat Simms and David Williams had planned to resign, but are now willing to stay.
Trey says yes, this is important. Judge says she gives him 100% support. Issues facing the Middle Pecos Water District could also be ours if we’re not careful.
We have been taking water for granted.
Ponton says that these Water Districts locally are unique in that the local districts here do not have taxing authority, they get their monies from commissioners courts. Maybe in the future they can look into becoming taxing entities, giving themselves more power.
Asking for $13,000. Judge says that Trey has spoken with auditor and understands that he understands that if he receives this money the Water District will be required to report quarterly to the commissioners.
Trey says that auditor told him that a budget amendment can be worked up if commissioners approve.
Aranda wants to know how they know that someone will work for $12,000. Trey says he does not know for sure; this is a number that the previous board had in the air. He thinks that they can find the right person. Three people are interested.
Judge believes that the County can afford this.
Trey says record keeping will be key here. Says that in some ways the Water District is ahead of the game, as the bylaws are in compliance with current regulations, as is permitting process. Says being organized can help cooperation with other agencies to achieve more, reduce redundancies .
Aranda says this is all very important, commends Gerfers. Ponton reminds commissioners that El Paso owns much water in western Presidio County and they have plans to take it in fifty to a hundred years.
Katie Sanchez says that there are only five months left in the fiscal year and that should be taken into account with regard to funding. Budget amendment would only be for FY 2018.
Gerfers says that in next budget process he will bring much more informed and detailed presentation.
Judge suggests making the motion refer to quarterly payments.
Trey hopes to have someone in place by June 1. Four months of FY 2018.
Judge motions to approve increasing funding for $4,400 for this budget year.

Item 8: County road 169 Donnell Lands roadway reroute.
Work has been completed and need to accept it. Aranda and Vasquez have been out there. Ruben Carrasco recommends approval.
No problems, they say.
Aranda motions to approve.
2nd by Vasquez

Item 10- move County Atty office to private practice office for Rod Ponton.
Ponton says that he needs another office, need two offices, majority of the population is in Presidio.
He likes to work hard for the County and the City of Presidio.
Needs a professional space, needs a private meeting space to talk with citizens about issues. Current office is inadequate. No possibility for confidential meetings.
He leased 601 W O’Reilly. Has plenty of space. He offers it to County at no cost.
Issue has come up about an office somewhere besides a county building. Yes, it is legal. he provides statute. 292.002 of local government code. Provides that commissioners can provide a location for an office outside of county seat as long as original records are kept at a County seat.
Prefers to live and office in Presidio. Talked to TAC. Paul Miles, assoc general counsel. Routine that county attorneys have offices outside of courthouse buildings. Gives examples of other counties doing this. Reeves County in Pecos county atty actually owns the office and rents it to Reeves County. Will not use County secretary for private work.
Says that all of his private work including City of Presidio work is done at office in Alpine. He is very strict about keeping things separate. Only cost to County is continuing to pay for phone and internet lines in Presidio. He will pay for any charge for moving phone lines himself. Third person added to office would be in Presidio.
Crime Victim Coordinator. Aranda asks if that person would work in that office.
Judge says that position is not on the agenda. He will have to come back to Commissioners Court for that permission. Rod agrees.
Bentley has a concern about blurred lines about what county employee does. Make sure the County incurs no expenses. Rod says there is no blurring of lines.  The lines are black and white. All private work is done in Alpine.
Judge says she was never informed about moving to another office.
Says that she called Jim Allison’s office and they said it’s completely up to commissioners court but in the future she would like to see county offices remaining on County property. Taking office out of the county annex is puking of ironic. Rod says that it will be a county office with a county signing it. Rod repeats that it will cost zero.
Bentley did the research and found that it’s not uncommon for this to exist like this with private and public practices conjoined.
Judge Beebe is called on to speak.
Says that he and Rod have already discussed this and “we have a difference of opinion on what he would avoid and what I would avoid. I’m not accusing him of anything illegal and I’m not angry with him” Rod is an attorney and he is not but there are a couple of things that we disagree on. If this is really the case it is generous of Rod to offer a free office to the County. This weekend we had a heated discussion about this and asks Rod to correct him if he is wrong but at that time Rod was saying that he was moving the County annex office into his private practice office.apparently now, as of this meeting, that story has changed to having that office be only the county office and not his private practice office . Now here today that’s a different statement but if that’s true then that’s great.
Beebe says, “I would just caution commissioners- yes, this is legal; this is done elsewhere. This County has a history of blurred lines, of multiple... I’m going to quote Doak Painter (independent auditor) of ‘multiple complex conflicts of interests’ . We have already an issue where Rod does work for the City of Presidio and also for Presidio County- that’s legal. That presents an inherent conflict of interest with anything that we deal with the a city of Presidio with, I think, but it’s legal. We also have an issue where Rod represents civil clients in cases against the PCAD (Presidio County Appraisal District) which is not our agency... but it does affect our appraisals and our tax collections. That is legal.
It’s also to me some type... I would say that I would avoid that if I were an attorney. I’ve talked to Rod about this- he and I have a difference of opinion as to what I would avoid versus what he would avoid and I’m not accusing him of wrongdoing and I’m not angry with him. I’d just like to point out to commissioners that the citizens of this county have watched “weird things” where there’s questions like this go on for decades and decades. “

Rod speaks up and invites Judge Beebe to please come see his office in Presidio for himself to see what’s happening there and how it works.

Beebe speaks, “I will, I will definitely see the new office. And I’m not trying to attack you, Rod, I am actually talking to commissioners. Commissioners have a choice, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do this, I’m just think that for the future I would love to see commissioners avoid situations like this from the get go. From the beginning, like hey, I don’t think that’s a good... maybe there’s a lot of questions here. Maybe when we create situations that have a lot of questions those are situations we can avoid before they get to the point where the office has already been moved. Before commissioners court addresses it, which has actually happened. That has not been mentioned, by the way.
Bentley asks Rod if he’s already moved it. Rod says yes. Bentley asks why has that not been brought to the court, before today. No response from Rod.

Beebe says, “This is something that commissioners court could do a better job at for the permanent future as a court, just be better about, don’t even let this stuff start.”

Ponton says that if the County had adequate space in Presidio for his office that’s where he would be. Beebe replies, “Food Bank”.


Judge says she has checked, it’s up to the Court. It would be nice if we could stop all wrongdoing, there’s a lot of wrongdoing, but we can’t. Rod says that he is just trying to have a better space to do work inform his job.
Judge says that in the future she would like to see county employees stay in a county buildings.
Bentley says her biggest disappointment is that he’s already moved this office before we had a chance to discuss it.
Judge brings up that our County Constable does have equipment in the Marfa PD force that was approved to move by the COG and Judge without bringing it to commissioners court. As long as OMB can inventory items and find that County equipment is in working order than it’s ok.
Judge asks for motion.
Aranda says that if it’s all legal, even though he’s already moved it he makes the motion to approve at no expense to the County. Unanimous.

Item 10- Approve HVAC renovation and design. Sam Cobos presents
AEP confirmed the capacity of the existing lines and transformer so Sam has no further concerns about the presented contract.
Design phase is now complete after many back and forth discussions. Sheriff is on board.
Contractor likely to use Trane equipment. Proceeding with submittals. Equipment ordering will proceed. Giving go ahead on that with courts approval to proceed.
Begin setting up logistics to bring in workers to work on it and I think the next three weeks.
Few months for manufacturer to build. Installation proceed in 2-3 months,
Design is same commissioners approved at prior meeting. Meets jail standards and other national standards.
CFM qualifications per cell also addressed.
Aranda motions to approve.

Item 12- Rio Grande Mining Company agreed judgment in tax suit refund to RGMC. Value reduced, balance on 2016 already paid. County required to rebate. Amount rebated is 10,479.77 County share. Balance from schools, etc is the rest of the amount, which will be reduced in their next payouts to outside entities we collect for.
Other entities have been notified.
Bentley motions to approve.

Item 13- Interlocal agreement between City of Presidio and Presidio County for engineering services for TxDOT TAP grants.
Agreement makes Presidio County the bidding agent for the projects.
Over $7 million in projects. Judge says she is very excited about the Bledsoe to O’Reilly connector. Going to be fantastic.
Ponton says that TXDOT sees this as a gateway to the new bridge project.
Vasquez moves to approve

Item 14- budget amendments:
None, but six line item transfers, says Marsha.
Pretty much boiler plate.
Elections issues, transferring some funds laterally to pay for elections. More transfers will be needed for runoff.
Bentley motions to approve

Item 17- OMB office.
Three engineering bids for TAPS projects. Frank Spencer, Kleinmann, and Parkhill Smith and Cooper have submitted. Ratings sheets will be worked on. Judge, joe Portillo, both mayors and Brad Newton on committee for ratings.
Rebidding Candelaria projects since no bid received. May have to split the bids. Current bid due May 11. Such a remote area that contractors are not willing.

Item 18- Adjourn at 10:45.